In which I appeal to the Blogosphere to answer some good questions

Over at Endurance Granny's Blog, she's hunting for a horse and getting what I consider some crazy advice. 

She wants a horse that can do endurance--not win endurance, but do the sport in a reasonable way.  She wants a reasonably sound, reasonably sane, reasonably metabolically stable horse who can walk/trot/canter and follow a trail without falling off a cliff or ending up in a tree.

Persons on the ground near Endurance Granny have advised her that she will need to spend at least $3500 to get the kind of horse who will do this sport. 

I say, anybody who says you need to spend that kind of money is selling something.  I'd even bet that a person who says stuff like that probably has a horse for sale!

But...is that just me?  I've seen spendy horses who never amounted to anything in endurance, and I've seen a lot of cheap/free horses who have competed for yonks.  

Maybe it's the company I keep, but most of the horses I see were NOT big-bucks purchases--many are home-grown or bought cheap and then trained.  (My horses have always been cheap or free, although they were never "finished")

I'm willing to do an informal poll of riders when I'm in camp a few weeks hence, but I'd like to hear from the electronic community:

**  How much is reasonable (in this economy) to spend for a horse? 
**  What do you look at most strongly when you're shopping?  
(Breeding?  Prior training?  Conformation?  Your vet's opinion?  Your trainer's opinion?  The seller's opinion? Prior success in your sport? )
**  Are there any physical parameters that you look for specifically? 
(resting heartrate?  cannonbone circumference?  speed at the trot?)
**  What are your deal-breakers?

The comment box is open.  Let's get some advice rolling here!

Comments

  1. Yeah... my horse was free...

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  2. Aarene, you are forgetting the #1, most important, absolutely CRITICAL factor in the equation:

    What is the buyer's riding level?

    Dom, you may have gotten your horse for free, but I've seen photos of you riding. Aarene, you too - I'd wager both Ozzy and Fiddle would have eaten a beginner for breakfast and even digested the bones. Because of your riding level you can shop from a MUCH wider pool of horses.

    I live in a very affluent area, so $3500 for a horse seems pretty reasonable to me. Back in '03 when I was considering a new horse, I happened to ask a trainer at a fancy stable if he had anything for sale. I wanted sound, sane, good ground manners and not too elderly. When I mentioned I was looking in the $5000 range, he laughed at me and walked away. Annoyed, I walked after him and asked him how much I could expect to spend - he said I wouldn't find anything for under $20,000.

    Admittedly, this was the height of the horse market in our area, and I do live in Orange County, and I WAS asking a pretty big name trainer. Still.

    Around here, now that the market has dropped, you can find some decent horses in the $2000 range. They wont have great training but they won’t kill you. If you expect it to have better training and be kid safe you'll be looking closer in the $5000 range. If you want to show, you're looking $5000-$10000.

    If you can ride and handle a problem horse without getting scared, then you can snatch them up for $500 or $1,000.

    I think the reason people spend so much money down here is that if you're looking to find a trainer, you generally have to board it at the trainer's barn, and that's gonna run you about $600 or $700 a month. It just makes financial sense to get one that already knows the ropes. Nobody shares their horse around here, so it’s rare to get a chance to get experience on horses other than your own unless you’re very close friends (who needs the vet or legal fees if something goes wrong?)

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  3. I can find Endurance Granny a horse for much, much less than that here in GA, including shipping to her. (I know a WONDERFUL shipper!)

    $3500 sounds like a lot to spend on a horse when the market is so poor. There are plenty of decent horses out there in good health whose owners just can't afford them any more. It might pay to look a little farther away and have a pro trailer them to you if you're not finding what you're looking for in your area.

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  4. Most I have ever spent was $2000 for Hank. To many people out there trying to get out of having too many to feed, so deals are all over the place. Look on Endurance net, and lots and lots of horses under $2500, and some have already gone to rides. $3500 is more than I'd want to spend, unless it was already proven with some miles. So,

    * How much is reasonable (in this economy) to spend for a horse?

    See above, in no hurry, around $2000

    ** What do you look at most strongly when you're shopping?

    size, conformation, good bone, no pervious injuries/bad scars, Arab, and brain


    ** Are there any physical parameters that you look for specifically?

    Big boned, and can not travel close behind, or potential to interfere. I usually forget to check resting heart rate. good feet, but can be shod


    ** What are your deal-breakers?

    geldings. ;-)

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  5. Ok Aarene, I agree with you to a point. I think where people are coming from over there stems from her skill level and lack of experience/obvious fear. She has had a great deal of difficulty with the typical baby/green horse behaviors and has had trouble riding the horses she's looked at, most likely horses that you or I would have had absolutely no problem with. I tend to get the feeling that she's pretty high-strung, which definitely radiates over into a hot young horse. I honestly believe for her skill level, as well as the list of "needs" the horse must have, she truly should save the cash to purchase a made horse. Unfortunately she tends to ignore or justify away all the advise she gets from experienced riders. Just my two cents, for what it's worth :)

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  6. I thought she found a horse she liked. ?
    As far as prices.... I think the 20k and up horses go with a trainer and are bought by people who can afford the whole show package. That's different than my world, but I have boarded at some of those barns. Cheap horses tend to have prices that rise and fall with the economy, just like anything else.
    Right now, with so many people hurting financially there are lots of nice cheap horses for under 3k, some WAY under. But these horses are not perfect, that's why they are not 40k in a hunter barn. They probably have holes in their training, they might have personality quirks that no one has ever worked with. They might be hard to keep sound or they might be owned by someone who doesn't know how to point out their good points and sell them. A lot of cheap horses are blind, crippled or crazy, but there are nice ones too. You need to have some good idea of what you can deal with and stick to it. Don't expect a finished horse in ANY discipline to be cheap. For the price, you get to do the work.

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  7. I paid 2k for Star in 2006, and she was the devil in disguise! These days I'd rather save my money and pay for a more finished endurance/show prospect than I think 2k would buy me. But with that said a 2k horse or a 6k horse can still dump you and hurt you on any given day. What do I look for? Slope shoulder , compact frame, big boned, kind eye and manners!!
    Deal killer? Geldings too:-) not a fan, disrespectful , pushy, choppy gaits and high drama like screaming in camp and a whirling dervish!! ha ha

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  8. Mine are all recyled racehorses, except Cartman who is TB but didn't race.
    I think people overlook the slightly older but experienced and sane horses in the 12-15 year range. I suppose for endurance you'd look for something a little younger but I like those older ones, especially for less experienced riders, or those that can't always ride 4-5 days a week.
    There is something to be said for a horse you can jump on bareback after having 2 weeks off and not expect a rodeo!
    Being biased I look for horses that have the racey look, TBs, STBs, some Arabs would also fall in here.
    I like the fact that my TB mare is bred too cool off fast and usually doesn't have troubles pulsing down.
    The horse has to have an overall balanced look with good leg angles and no sloped or upright pasterns.
    I prefer that they not hit the ground too hard or have too much heavy muscling.
    I guess since I haven't been into distance riding very long I look more towards horses that look like they would be good at jumping.
    Temperment is my deal breaker, must be enjoyable for me to be around and have decent manners as teaching ground manners is a definate hole in my training!

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  9. Always an interesting topic...thanks for the opportunity to comment, Aarene.

    On price: Price may be a limiting factor, but it shouldn't be the #1 consideration. Have a limit in mind, but recognize you may need to go over it to find exactly what you're looking for. Have a mental "sacrifice list" of other things in your life you can give up in order to get the horse that suits your needs.

    Decide what the most important thing is that you're looking for in a horse. When my father got involved in horses eleven years ago, he was willing to pay $3900 for an unregistered Foxtrotter mare because she was Safe and Sane and would take care of a beginning rider, while still having a lot of forwardness and bot being a plodding trail horse.

    The next one? Much less...but he was green, fairly young, and it took us almost three years of working with him to get him competition-ready.

    As soon as price becomes the controlling factor, you will end up having to give up something along the way. I realize that most people don't have an unlimited hrose budget, and can't just go out and drop X amount of $ on their dream horse. But you might have to give up something -- be it a conformation flaw you can live with, lack of experience, lack of training, temperament -- when searching for the "really good deals."

    My horse "shopping list":
    - Number One priority: Safe and Sane! I want a solid mind and good disposition. This is non-negotiable. I want them forward and willing to go out on the trail, especially by themselves, but not so forward I have a competitive maniac on my hands. Doesn't get overly excited by "stuff," and is a contained spooker. (I don't mind if they spook and look at something. I only mind when the spook, bolt for home, and then maybe slow to consider.)

    -Breed. Next horse will be an Arabian, or an Arab-strong cross. Ten years or distance riding with a non-Arab has left me with an appreciation for the natural ease and advantage Arabs have for the sport.

    -Conformation. I want them to be a clean mover with straight legs, and an uphill build. After 15 years of riding a pogo-stick, I have developed an appreciation for decent angulation and a bit of wither. They need to have good bone, and excellent feet. Low resting heart rate.

    -No previous injuries/metabolic issues. Odds are, in this sport, they're going to break at some point, to some degree. Best not to already have a leg up in that department.

    -Some training. I don't mind teaching them some of the ropes along the way, but I want them well-started, both in the arena and on the trail. Someone else can get the bucks out of them. I'm moving into a time in my life where I don't have all hours of the day to work with a really inexperienced horse, and ideally, with a little bit of work, they'd be ready to at least put into LDs.

    -Size. I'm 5'4". I have no desire to scramble on a gigantor at the start of a ride, much less at the 85-mile mark. :)

    -Gelding/Mare. I'm not committed to either. We've had both. I own a mare now. Some days, I get really sick of the Mare Drama. But she's also the best caretaker I could hope for. Mares might run a slightly higher risk of hormone-related metabolic issues, such as tie-ups. And they're so much fun to deal with when they're in season at a ride.

    As evidenced, I have a quite a laundry list for when I eventually go horse shopping, which puts me firmly in the category of probably needing to pay more for a horse. But I'd rather search for a while and pay more money for the right one that will hopefully last me a while, than to end up going through multiple horses that I get attached to and end up having to rehome.

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  10. Safe, sane, young-ish, healthy, sound, enthusiastic, bright attitude, no major behavioral faults under saddle, no training gaps...

    It's the horse everyone wants. It SHOULD cost more.

    Sure, you can get a fantastic distance horse on the cheap...if you want to spend a lot of time training/re-training it. EG doesn't, which is fine -- she's been there, done that, with Phebes and now just wants to RIDE. Fair enough. But it does narrow the field and raise the price.

    I wouldn't be surprised to pay $3000 or more for THAT horse.

    What do I want? Sturdy legs, good feet, sloping shoulder, balanced physique, turnout as youngster, operational brain, see-the-world attitude... ya know, the usual. :)

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  11. By the way....canon bone circumference? I have never even heard of this before ---FASCINATING. Aside from judging an appropriate height/weight ratio for a potential horse, what else does it do?

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  12. I think the most important thing to remember is that a higher price doesn't guarantee a perfectly trained, ready-to-ride-the-trails horse.
    My first horse was $3,500. I purposefully searched out a more expensive horse believing what other more knowledgeable horse people told me that cheap horses weren't going to be well-trained, novice-patient, vice-free, healthy and trail-ready. I'd only get the 'perfect horse' by adjusting my budget higher.
    Since then I've learned price guarantees nothing. There are so many variables for the horse and rider that should be considered first. Price should never be the bottom line.

    I sold my first horse after she tried to kill me on many occasions because of her unpredictability and poor attitude under-saddle.

    I am a volunteer at Walkin' N Circles Horse Rescue in New Mexico and I have seen a few well-bred, papered, endurance-trail-ready horses come through. Some were from hoarding cases, some were given up because of financial hardship, or even a teenager going off to college, and sometimes when the owner discovers they were over-horsed.
    These horses can be adopted for under $800.00.
    I have seen some of those horses with their new owners riding in ACTHA Competitive Trail ride events and have been very impressed.

    ~Lisa

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  13. In my opinion: The more training the horse has, the more expensive he is going to be.....and as a previous poster said, there is STILL no guarantee you will get a horse the matches your abilities. There ARE some highly trained horses that are difficult for beginners to ride -- an example would be a rider who can barely canter trying to ride a Grand Prix dressage horse. A horse like that has TONS of training and ability, BUT not everyone is going to be able to ride him successfully. Under the right rider, the horse is beautiful -- but with someone inexperienced, it could spell major, mass confusion at best.

    Part of problem I see lies in the fact that a lot of people tend to see trail riding as a discipline that requires little training (which is what I think causes the majority of accidents on the trails). Just because a horse is great and non-flappable in the show ring does not mean he will be the same on the trail. I see trail riding just like any other discipline, you have to TRAIN a horse to do it well -- especially when talking about endurance where the trails can be a LOT more difficult than just a stroll through the woods.

    ...and again more training = higher price (and this includes trail mounts).

    Since prices DO vary from place to place, I would definitely tell EG not to limit her search to her immediate area. Make a list of wants and don’t wants in an order of importance and really hit all avenues for horses that fit that description best. Talk to the owners, ask a LOT of questions….and if the horse sounds promising – take the time to go see it and do a test ride. All avenues include private sellers as well as rescues and adoption programs (there are gems to be found in those places too – they just need the “right” person to come along).

    A few years ago, I had a friend who was looking for a trail horse for her hubby…just something quiet and easy that they could go and ride together on the trails near their house. …and she really could afford a nice horse. Well, they looked at over 60 horses (during a span of a year and a half) to find the horse that was right for him. It WAS frustrating, but she says all the time that it was worth it. He now has a super quiet (non-registered) QH who’s personality fits him like a glove. They paid around $2200 for him and he is 11 years old. To look at him, he seems just a plain, ordinary, chestnut horse…but if you watch her hubby ride him – they really DO get along great…and they are BOTH happy and that’s what matters.

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  14. To continue on- (sorry this is so long :( )

    I will be looking for a second horse myself (also with the idea of doing CTR’s or endurance) in a few years and here is a list I have already put together mentally (in order of most important).
    1.) Low amount of Spookiness/Sensitivity. (I have ridden a LOT of spooky horses and have grown tired of dealing with it)
    2.) Confirmation. (Being a larger rider. I want a horse that has good weight carrying confirmation…and I have done TONS of research on this).
    3.) Soundness. Enough said. The more I spend, the greater chance I invest in that pre-purchase exam…
    4.) A horse that has been on the trail BEFORE. I don’t mind if he’s a little green, but I want something that isn’t going to go nuts at the first downed tree he sees (see #1 LOL)
    5.) Breed. I love draft horses, but they are not a good breed for endurance/CTR’s. Standarbreds are my first choice, but I would also consider another breed if I like a certain individual.
    6.) Age. (Again…if I REALLY liked a particular youngster, I’d take him on – BUT I would like a horse between 5 & 11 years of age ideally).
    7.) Ability and nice gaits. It’s nice to have a pretty mover who is easy to ride, but I’d much rather have a horse I enjoy spending time with. Things such as a floaty trot and cantering on the correct lead are a low priority for me.
    8.). Ground manners. I am extremely confident in working with hard to handle horses on the ground, so I don’t mind dealing with a ground “vice” if the horse rides decent. I also feel a challenge like this would help solidify my bond with the horse.
    9.) Price. This the LAST thing involved. As I mentioned above with my friend’s husband. I think finding a horse that “clicks” with you is most important. If I find that many of the horses I look at are out of my price range, I will keep saving (while continuing to look). I really don’t mind this if it means I will find something the FITS ME (and I fit him/her).

    Major deal breakers for me include: Unsoundness, Highly spooky, A tendancy to bolt OR buck (I can’t sit a bucker to save my soul and I don’t want the headache of trying to re-train a bolter). Surprisingly, I would be willing to deal with a rearing problem depending on the severity. I’ve had quite a bit of experience working with horses that reared and have had a lot of success. With that said though, everything else would have to be PERFECT for me to even consider that type of project.

    So….my bottom line advice is this: Figure out with 100% certainty what you want and don’t want in a horse (and be willing to pay for or save up for a horse that FITS you). Look in every place you can and take your time to decide. …..AND DO NOT GIVE UP LOOKING –no matter how frustrating it gets. The right horse is out there…and he’s just looking for the right human partner!!

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  15. i know your question relates to america but i can't help but say i feel like california becky over here. for 2000 euros you can get a problem horse with crooked legs. or a foal/yearling.

    my deal breaker: grey. *lol*

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  16. I may be the one EG is commenting about because I have a horse for sale within an hours drive of her for $3500. He did one 25 mile and 2 50 mile endurance rides last year. So he is proven. He is not spooky at all in fact he's the bravest and best horse I've ever riden. I don't HAVE to sell him so I have him priced a little high for our area. But he is worth every penny. He's 15hh, large cannons, big feet, very low resting pulse, and has no issues. He is registered straight egyptian. He has a current negative coggins, is up to date on vaccinations, deworming, he's in shoes and has good feet, and he had his teeth floated in January of this year. He's very well cared for and completely adored by me. I only want him to go to the best home and am going to be choosy about who I sell him to.

    I never suggested that she had to spend $3500 to get a good horse! I think I mentioined that if I were her and really had my hopes and dreams on competing in endurance still, that I would only look at horses with endurance records. At least an LD or two since she wants something younger.

    I'm lowering my price to $2700 and that's as low as I will go. I have two people very interested and one that is coming out to ride him Tuesday.

    EG is interested in something a bit slower than my horse I believe. Which I completely understand.

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  17. Anonymous, I'll take your SE Arabian if you can arrange shipping. Sounds perfect! If only..

    ~lytha

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  18. I have a feeling he will be sold on Tuesday. I am offering a two week trial basis. If the new owner doesn't like him for any reason they can bring him back and get their money back for him.

    He's listed on Horse clicks. His name is Mohummed Shazam. Just look under arabians and Indiana. He's also on Dream Horse and Horsetopia. The lady looking at him on Tuesday has only dabbled in endurance. I'd like to see someone who is really serious in the sport take him. But she wants to do dressage with him too. And he is a nice dressage horse as well. He's taken lessons and from my limited dressage experience he seems to have a real good start at it. I love how responsive he is to leg cues. Look on horse clicks to see his picture. He's so cute! I'm going to cry rivers when he's gone. But I've got a three year old filly to start and 3 others beside her to ride, plus I've gone back to school and started working part-time. And my husband really wants me to downsize by one horse. He's definately my easiest one to sell because he is so nice.

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  19. Michelle D. I believe the shipping comment was tongue in cheek. The comment was posted by someone living I think in Germany? And Shazam is grey (her deal breaker)*LOL*.
    Buyers that like a fast horse, I'll attest that Shazam has it. Will further attest he is WAY TO MUCH horse for me. In every way (price, and GO).

    I'm not 20 anymore, hell, I'm not 40 anymore, and it won't be too long I'll be whining I'm not 50 anymore! I'm seeking a ride life without any drama. God willing...I just want to trot/jog down the trail ALL BY OURSELVES over and over and over and let the miles stack up.

    (Anonymous) wish you could have ridden the bucking bronc for me last weekend. I could have used an "experienced rider" ... really.
    I take no shame in having no desire to get hurt.

    Aarene, thank you sincerely for this post up and those who took the time and trouble to comment, I appreciate it. This has given me hope that I'll find my little ride within budget.

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  20. Having bought and sold a few horses in my lifetime, I have to say that I don't bother looking at super cheap horses anymore. GENERALLY- they have a "hole" in their personality or training. There are always exceptions, but I, like "Granny" am over 50 and I don't want to bother with that stuff anymore. And I don't have time.
    So when I recently got back into horses again after about a decade off, I looked for the breeds I wanted, from reputable trainers/ranches. Breeding was a big part of my decision making - more than the price. I will take out a loan for the RIGHT horse, but that is just me. I very much appreciate and respect "Granny's" view on her money situation. Planning ahead for hay in the barn besides the purchase of the horse. Well done!
    As for me, when I was younger and didn't have the family time constraints (my time was my own) - I was much more open to finding a deal, then working with the horse in whatever way made itself apparent as we began working together/riding. Sometimes, this allowed me to in essence to a "rescue" a horse. You all know what I mean!
    But like I said earlier- this time around, I needed horses that will be good with kids, easy to ride and have good potential for my sport - Mounted Shooting. I bought a young horse, green but well bred and also an older horse that is a breed I have always wanted to own and I saw this as my chance.
    Their prices varied greatly one from the other - but in each case, I would say they were fairly priced, however, not "deals," that's for sure. That's okay with me. I know what I bought.
    So - I personally think that unless you are experienced with horses and know you have the time and abilities, you should not look for a cheap horse unless you have Trainer to help you out.
    If you are experienced, as I think most who responded are?, then you know what you are doing/getting into and the discussion becomes moot whether the horse you are looking at is cheap or expensive.
    (I hope this made sense, I've been interrupted many times . . . love my Family!! ;-o)

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  21. Hey Aarene, and other STB lovers- I just read this thread on the COTH bb about standarbreds, there are quite a few STB lover over there and even some cool pics of a former racer pulling a sleigh in the snow! Thought of you and Fiddle- here's the link if your interested:
    http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=292811

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  22. Hey Aarene, and other STB lovers- I just read this thread on the COTH bb about standarbreds, there are quite a few STB lover over there and even some cool pics of a former racer pulling a sleigh in the snow! Thought of you and Fiddle- here's the link if your interested:
    http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=292811

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  23. Well, I just got back from a trip to Canada. My friend and I looked at STBs, and she rode three of them. So now for the low, low price of $600, plus the small incidentals of us getting up there (and whatever it is going to cost to ship the horse here), she's the proud owner of a horse that is a bit better than green. :)

    She went looking for a gelding, saying that never, under any circumstances, would she want a mare. Guess what's coming home.

    Yes, you have to be willing to adjust your parameters sometimes. After she rode the mare, we had a long, long talk about the three she had ridden. And the fact was, if the horse had been a gelding, there would have been no question that she was coming home with us.

    I just bought another horse too. I paid $1200 and got a gelding who is only 11 years old and in whom I have yet to find a training hole. He's smooth and fast, and I enjoy riding him. He may not be the athletic equivalent of my arab, but I can ride him with a smile on my face. It turns out that security is worth more to me than being in the top ten. Guess I'm getting older and wiser, finally.

    The more horses my friends and I own, the more I've come to believe that it is kind of a crapshoot when you shop. Maybe, *MAYBE* 20 percent of horses I have gone to try were described accurately in their ads. Price doesn't imply training or ability. It might imply the seller's opinion of the horse, or it might just be an amount based on what they owe on their credit card that month. You just never know.

    For me temperament is the deal-breaker. Any horse can be improved in athleticism and learn new skills... but it is a heck of a lot easier if they WANT to learn and TRY to learn. I'm always looking for a willingness to try.

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  24. I know I'm super late to this - just now getting caught up! I'm in California, although not in an affluent part. If you are looking in an affluent part, I would suggest expanding your radius BTW. BEFORE the present economy hit, I was looking for an endurance horse. I thought I that a 3k price range would get me a decent solid prospect that might have some experience too. I had a TON of horses that were fine considerations. Again - remember this is before the present economy hit. I found Farley within a WEEK of looking, for $1800. And I didn't get lucky, and I bought her from someone I didn't know, so they didn't make me a deal. However, I think if you are super picky about every detail, then 3K, even in the present economy isn't going to cut it. To tell you the truth, I was a little disspointed in the fact that I got a brown, sway back, potbelly extermely small mare who wasn't that flashy that didn't seem like much an arena horse (which was what I was lacking and what I was hoping to have along with the trail - a horse that could teach me arena stuff). She also didn't get into the trailer as well as I would have liked to start. BUT!!!!! - she was sweet and safe and from day one I could put anyone on her. And she was fabulous on the trail. She had good feet, good heart girth, and fabulously straight legs. She was in full flaming heat around the several studs that were at the barn and was still sensible. There was barbed wire all over the place I purchased her from, yet she had no cuts or injuries or anything that would suggest she was accident prone. And so I ended up with my "yet another brown horse".

    * How much is reasonable (in this economy) to spend for a horse?
    ----IMO you set a budget of 3K and plan on spending around 2K

    ** What do you look at most strongly when you're shopping?
    (Breeding? Prior training? Conformation? Your vet's opinion? Your trainer's opinion? The seller's opinion? Prior success in your sport? )
    -------For 3K you aren't going to necessarily get a finished, or proven horse. I look for a horse that got "forgotten about" and not started until a bit later. Conformation trumps competition experience and pretty much everything else IMO. Seller's opinion means nothing, unless it's an experienced trainer that is watching me ride and has reasons she doesn't think it's a good fit. BUT, a horse being sold by such a person is usually outside my price range. I want to see a horse that was used less rather than more.

    ** Are there any physical parameters that you look for specifically?
    (resting heartrate? cannonbone circumference? speed at the trot?)
    -------Feet first. Then legs. Then to a lesser degree everything else - balance of forequarters, body, and rump. Shoulder angle and heart girth depth. Balance of neck. I've never taken a resting heart rate, never taken a circumfrance of bone, and never measured the speed of a gait (although on the trail I do observe whether they move freely andwhat gait they perfer and when they want to shift gears.

    ** What are your deal-breakers?
    Refusing to load into a trailer. Fine if it just takes a bit of coaxing, but not an outright refusal, and definitely not a horse that reacts with violence. I'm done training horses to go into trailers. A horse that rears - i can deal with bucking better than rearing. A horse that backs as an evasive movement under saddle.

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  25. I forgot! One of the charactertistics I have come to absolutely TREASURE is a horse that forgives. I WILL screw up. The horse that will look at me and say "OK, let's try that again", is priceless.

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  26. Here's my 2 cents worth from an endurance rider from Down Under.

    I think horses are the one exception to the "get what you pay for" rule as there are so many factors affecting a horse's behaviour and rideability. I paid just under $8k for my beautiful arabian as a yearling (so completely unbroken etc) but that price also related to her breeding and colour (black), whereas my other two TBs were $500 for both but have the most amazing temperaments and although very green, will be amazing with a stack of miles on them.

    I don't think price is a good indicator of quality. I have both and they are equally wonderful horses. As long as you go for a horse with good ground manners (most important) and a kindly disposition, you generally can't go wrong. I also prefer smoochie horses who like to snuggle because to me that's an indicator of their 'ease' with a human and an acceptance of you as their herd leader.

    At the end of the day, money is largely irrelevant as one hugely expensive horse might be an absolute pig of a creature whereas a freebie could just as easily be a darling forever horse so you just need to shop around and looking with your heart as much as your wallet isn't such a bad thing because you'll know when you've found the ONE and then price will seem totally irrelevant.

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  27. i like your new bio section for the pets but i think you missed one very special, loving animal!

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